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Wondrous Sounds - Thrive at Sedona's Studio Live

By Dave Cooper
with Mariah Fleming

Sedona Performers Guild

Many spectacular things are located amid the gorgeous natural setting of Red Rock Country in northern Arizona. The picturesque community of Sedona is one of them, and in Sedona you will discover something else unique to the area: Studio Live: Home of the Sedona Performers Guild. For decades, Sedona’s enchanting locale and rich appreciation of the arts has attracted many talented artists.

In 2009, the Sedona Performers Guild, a 501(c) 3 non-profit arts and education organization, was formed. The Sedona Performer's Guild (SPG) promotes artistic excellence and enriches the community with live arts performances and education.

The Sedona Performers Guild (SPG) created a venue called Studio Live. With an enthusiastic blend of performing artists and local support, a spirited culture has risen around Studio Live. The intimate venue hosts a wide range of live entertainment featuring local and national touring acts. Recent national acts have included renowned recording artists David Wilcox, Rory Block, Wendy Waldman and Bill Staines.

Program Director Rick Cyge explained, “The local community has truly embraced the Sedona Performers Guild and Studio Live, regularly attending concerts and workshops produced by our organization. Word is beginning to really spread.”

The inspiration for the Sedona Performers Guild began a few years before its actual inception when founder Suzie Schomaker relocated from New York to Sedona. Schomaker’s history is impressive. She was born and raised in New York, and enjoyed a long career as a NYC performer, singer and songwriter. No stranger to audiences of thousands, she entertained everywhere from small village bistros and cabarets to high-powered gatherings, even fronting forty piece orchestras. “No genre has gone untouched,” Shomaker remarked.

Upon arriving and settling into Sedona’s quaint surroundings and small town lifestyle, a subtle wave of culture shock washed over Schomaker. She was impressed by the abundance of local talent. But venues were scarce. There was a distinct need to have a central location for artists to gather and openly express themselves. Her dream of a special place in Sedona to jam together, be creative and perform began to take shape, but Schomaker needed help.

To conceive of such an idyllic setting was easy, but to complete its formation became a challenge. Not for long, though. “Sedona has become a rebirth for me," Shomaker enthused. “Every musician here is an incredible talent and I have again been blessed to meet and play with many of them. This is a very exciting time!”

The Sedona Performers Guild consists of performing artists who have come together to form a community that includes musicians, vocalists, dancers, spoken word artists, poets and people young and old, from beginners to professionals. Once the guild was formed, attention moved toward creating the ideal venue. Enlisting support from neighborhood musicians and community leaders, Schomaker began an earnest pursuit of likeminded artists.

She soon met Rick Cyge and Lynn Trombetta, who had just relocated to Sedona. For years, Cyge and Trombetta have been popular in the Phoenix area as the primary musicians with the Celtic-flavored instrumental jazz and folk group Meadowlark. Cyge, an outstanding multi instrumentalist, has a long and notable background as a songwriter and singer as well as a concert promoter.

Cyge and Trombetts met Schomaker within days of moving up to Sedona. "The common ground between us was instantly obvious to us all," said Cyge. "Suzie was excited about our background and experience in music, especially my years of building and running Wood & Strings Music Center in the Boston area." Cyge elaborated. “The music scene when we arrived was nothing compared to what we've all developed in our work with the Sedona Performers Guild," added Trombetta. "We were driven to be here and hoping we could create an opportunity for our own music in the community."

Studio Live

In a kind of three-part harmony, the sensibilities of Rick Cyge, Lynn Trombetta and Suzie Schomaker blended magically, quickly developing into a special admiration and friendship. Cyge and Trombetta were soon asked to join the Sedona Performers Guild as Program and Marketing Directors, respectively. The Guild receives ongoing support from its team of dedicated board members, administrative staff and countless volunteers. The devotion and pride in their joint effort results in the high quality of performances at Studio Live.

Prior to Studio Live, restaurants, bars, and coffee houses hosted much of Sedona’s entertainment activity. That has changed. Community spirit and arts activism in the Sedona scene continues to be an integral component to Studio Live. The Sedona Performers Guild and Studio Live host concerts, poetry slams, dance recitals, theme nights and various other artistic presentations and community affairs. Several months ago, Studio Live held a "Japan Aid" night.

Studio Live offers music workshops and education to SPG members and Sedona residents. The Sedona Performers Guild works to develop programs and opportunities for young and old alike that are designed to help people of all ages learn about themselves and their talents through creativity and exploration of the performing arts.

The multi-purpose, intimate Studio Live venue was built by local performers and came to life from the remnants of a vacant storefront property. It has become Sedona’s crown jewel for live entertainment. Sedona recently won third place as a Small Town Arts Destination in American Style Magazine. The Sedona Performers Guild is living proof that Sedona is not only abundant in the visual arts, but the performing arts as well.

Next time you head up to Arizona's Red Rock region, remember to include Studio Live and the Sedona Performers Guild in your plans. You'll be glad you did. For info and events calendar go to